Columns: Comfort food a great option for dark, fall days

The weather has been pretty decent considering it is the middle of November.

The weather has been pretty decent considering it is the middle of November.

I still have flowers growing in my garden to add some colour to these dark sort of days we have experienced as of late.

From now until about the end of March next year is a good time for comfort food. Well, any time is good, but when the weather is cool, it seems that it is a good time to do a little comfort cooking. That does not mean pulling an easy chair in front of the stove.

What is it that comforts your taste buds at this time of the year? Perhaps it may be a nice big bowl of soup, or how about a tasty stew with meat and lots of veggies — maybe some fresh fish, some chicken, beef or pork.

I consider some of the Thai dishes that I have learned to cook and enjoy as a nice meal at this time of the year, as a comfort food, but there are so many nice foods that are comfortable for me.

I  suspect what you may consider as a comfort food may not have the same consideration by others.

One  definition of comfort food suggests it is food that provides a nostalgic feeling to the consumer and generally is one that is easy to prepare.

Every person has their own idea of what kind of food brings them to a happy memory or feeling. Each race and culture also have different foods that are called comfort foods.

In North America and perhaps around the world, a chicken soup is generally considered as a comfort food, and I would also believe that macaroni and cheese could be added into this category.

The first time I had this next dish was in a restaurant and I really enjoyed the taste. Since then I  have made it at home with different variations, but always tasty.

Jambalaya

• 3/4 pound of smoked ham cut in small pieces

• 2 tbsp olive oil

• 1 green pepper, cored  seeded and chopped

• 1 medium sized onion sliced

• 3/4 pound of cooked shrimp

• 2 cups of canned tomatoes, crush up a little bit or 4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

• 2 cups of water

• 2 cloves of garlic crushed

• 2 tsp of Worcestershire sauce

• 1/2 tsp crushed dried red pepper

• Ground seasoned sea salt and ground black pepper (not ground works as well)

• 1 1/2 cups of rice

• 1 tbsp chopped parsley

In a Dutch oven, heat the oil, fry the ham, green pepper and onion until they start to brown.

Add the shrimps, tomatoes, water, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper, bring to a boil then put in the rice and simmer for about 20 minutes or until all of the water is absorbed.

Take from stove and let stand covered, up to 10 minutes.  Stir in chopped parsley along with just a pinch of pepper and salt, then serve.

Comforting food for me. See if it fits in your comfort zone. It’s easy to make.

Hope Friday the 13th is lucky for you. I think I’ll buy a lottery ticket.

Bye for now and Goood Cooking.

Ken Wilson is a freelance columnist with the Tribune/Weekend Advisor.

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